Girl Scouts of Western New York presented Kayla Saladyga, of Spencerport, with a 2018 Gold Award in recognition of her project, “STEM Summer Lessons.”
“My Gold Award involved my local FIRST FTC Robotics team within my hometown of Spencerport,” Saladyga said. “Robotics has been a large part of my life, as I’ve spent one year on the younger FTC team — which was actually set up by a former Girl Scout for her Gold Award — and three years on the older FRC.
“Robotics has become a large part of my life, as I’ve taken many experiences from it and learned a lot from my mentors. It is also a large reason for why I wish to go into engineering. With this, I wanted to give back to the team and look for a way to support the younger students coming up onto the FTC team.
“In order to help give them a chance to learn some of the skills that would be needed on both the FTC and FRC teams, I created a series of PowerPoints involving the different aspects of the robotics teams and how the team runs. I also presented these PowerPoints to the students during the weekly summer meetings of the team in order to help the students gain the information.
“As a student mentor on the team, I also got the chance to create a PowerPoint that involved some of the information on the newer components in the game, and presented to a group of about 100 people from various other FTC teams within the area for the day of the FTC kickoff.
“Girl Scouts has given me many things in life. It’s allowed me to make close friends and good memories with them. Hours of meetings playing with one another, learning new things and discovering how to help others has given me a sense of closeness with each of my troop’s members. Girl Scouts has given me many chances to work with others that I may have never met before, as well as give back to my community and those within it.
“Girl Scouts helps to provide many opportunities to give back to those in need, and connects with many volunteer operations to connect with all different walks of life. I am grateful for all the different opportunities that I have gained in Girl Scouts, and plan to carry my experiences into the real world as well continue to help others.”
The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouts. Projects should be something the Scout can be passionate about in thought, deed and action, as well as encompasses organizational, leadership and networking skills. The project should fulfill a need within the community and create change that has the potential to be ongoing or sustainable.
Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. The Gold Award qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities to enter the military a full rank higher than her peers.
Gold Award recipients identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. Scouts form a team to act as their support system, including a project adviser close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member. Scouts create a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. They submit a proposal for the project to their local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, they start to work through the steps of the plan, utilizing the support team where necessary. The project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.
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